Well they promised a postcard sized tax form and they delivered but it may result in a bit of confusion. A draft form leaked to the NYT shows that a number of above-the-line deductions are no longer on the form. I don’t see educator expenses, health savings account deduction, deductible part of self-employment tax, IRA deduction, tuition and fees deduction, student loan interest deduction, to name a few. The form only as one side now. You can google new 2018 IRS tax form 1040 if you are inclined to see the draft. Note that it may change before the tax season begins.
Apparently, to claim those deductions that aren’t on the return, there will be extra worksheets that will have to be filed with the postcard. That’s no different than before except you have no reminders on the front of the form as to what deductions are available.
All this really isn’t that much different than before except that apparently the 1040EZ and the 1040A will disappear to be replaced by the ‘postcard’ and the worksheets and/or schedules documenting credits and deductions claimed may change.
You will be able to file with just the postcard if your income comes only from wages, pensions, interest and dividends, and social security. If you have business income, capital gains, stock sales, etc., you will need additional forms, just as before. You can claim the standard or itemized deduction on the postcard, but as before, you need to fill out a schedule A to itemize. You can claim your dependents on the postcard but to claim the child tax credit, earned income credit, education credit, etc., you will need additional forms, which really hasn’t changed.
If you have credits or want to itemize, you will have to use additional forms, just as before.
So, at this time, in my opinion, this seems to be much ado about nothing. The form has changed and people will have to learn where to enter the deductions that they are used to claiming. There will be new schedules or worksheets that will have to be used, such as Schedule 1, to claim some of those deductions. Additional forms will still be required for the myriad of complicating situations such as business income, rentals, sale of property, education credits or the earned income credit, etc. There will be confusion as some of the deductions people are used to claiming have been eliminated by the new tax law and people will be frustrated when they can’t find fields on the return for entry of deductions they used to claim but are no longer available.
The new forms will take a little getting used to but otherwise, nothing has really changed. If the intent was to simplify things, I am not sure this helped.